As I was gazing out the window with those thoughts running through my head I heard a man’s voice and a name I shouldn’t be hearing.
“Adele Morgan?” In spite of myself, I shivered. I hadn’t heard anyone other than Louisa call me that in over six years. I continued staring out the window. I could see the reflection of an older man in a sharp suit standing behind me. “Adele?” he said again. This time I took a deep breath and turned around.
“I’m so sorry; I think you must have mistaken me for someone else…”
“No, there is no way that you aren’t little Adele Morgan. That is unless she had a twin sister I didn’t know about.” I wracked my brain trying to think of where I might have met this man. Was he a friend of my father’s? How the hell did he know who I was? I decided to keep up the charade.
I smiled sweetly and said, “I’m Erin Summers. I’m not sure who Adele Morgan is…”
He laughed. Somehow this man knew who I was. He was going to blow this for me. Everything I’d struggled for over the past ten years… gone. I had to wonder if I’d be better off admitting the truth and asking him to keep it between us. But, if he knew who I was, he obviously knew who my father was and what James Hunter did. If he was an ally of James’s then I was screwed.
“I’m not sure why you want to insist you’re not her. You look just like your mother.” When he said that another woman suddenly came around the corner towards us from the other end of the hall. I smiled at her and when she was out of sight I took the older man by his arm and pulled him into the room behind us.
We were in a library of sorts… maybe an office. At that moment, I didn’t care. “What makes you so insistent that I’m this Adele person?”
“I knew your parents well. I was one of your father’s clients when the company was still in his hands. He was a good man and your mother was a great lady. I was at your home for dinner more than once. I think the last time I saw you, you were only four or five, but your face and your hair… those jade green eyes, that’s all Sally Morgan through and through.”
“What is your name?” I asked him.
“Oh dear. Excuse me. I’m Phillip,” he said, holding out his hand. “Phillip Granger.”
“Mr. Granger, are you a friend of the Hunters?”
“Please, call me Phillip. No Miss, I’m not a “friend” of theirs. I suppose Seth is okay but I don’t know him that well yet. I am no fan of James Hunter… unfortunately I bought my shares before I realized just how badly I disliked the man, I may have invested elsewhere.”
Knowing that I didn’t have any other choice at the moment I said, “I am Adele Morgan… but please Mr. Granger…”
“Phillip,” he corrected.
“Phillip. Please, I don’t want anyone to know that.”
“I’m capable of keeping a confidence,” he said. “But I’m terribly curious as to why. Why would you change your name? Your parents were wonderful people, I was so sad when they died. Then I heard about you being left with nothing…” He looked sickened by that and I suddenly had a feeling that perhaps I’d found an ally.
“You know what James Hunter did to me?”
“I heard rumors that James’s purchase of the company wasn’t solely done on the up and up, so to speak. I always wondered what happened to you. Your father was so proud of you, you know? He used to brag all the time about how smart you were and how someday you would take his company to new heights.” I felt the tears burning the corners of my eyes as I listened to him. His words only served to renew my convictions. He suddenly said, “Adele, why are you here? Does James Hunter not know who you are?”
“I’m not sure,” I said. “I didn’t think he did… but he was so rude to me earlier. Tonight is the first time I’ve actually met him face to face, although I’ve worked for the company for nearly three months. I came here with Seth tonight…” I felt my chest tighten at the thought, at the memory of him just standing there, cowering in front of his father as James proceeded to walk all over me.
“How do you know Seth?”
I looked into Phillips eyes and what I saw there was compassion and sorrow. I needed to trust someone and something about this man told me that I could trust him. I began talking, telling him everything from the day I found out my parents were dead until tonight. I told him about intending to use Seth and developing feelings for him as well… if I was going to trust him, I was going all out. When I finished he looked even more sad.