By Dandy352

Chapter One

The Deal

Angela Hart knocked in their only son's room. She and her husband, Gregory, had been planning to confront Eric for the longest time now. Unfortunately, it was either they were too busy with work or he was. So that afternoon when she returned to their mansion from her business trip and was informed by their maid that her son was home, she didn't waste time and acted on hand.

'This is it. It's now or never.' Hearing no response, she decided to knock again. When nobody answered, she called for the maid to open his door for her.

"Eric, son?" She came in, careful to catch him in whatever he's up to. It has been almost seven years from when he was eighteen that she and Gregory have gotten themselves busy with the fast productivity of their business. Ever since, they rarely got the chance to talk or hear from their son. That doesn't mean though that they've forgotten or stopped caring for him. In fact, she and Gregory had been going alternate on calling him. Sometimes he answers and they talk as if they were as normal as any other family who were seeing each other 24/7, except that all they talk about was either work, work, or work.

Despite their situation, Eric seemed to look on the good side and climbed his way to the top. The last time they called him was to congratulate him for being one of the most successful and most gorgeous bachelors in the entire London. His parents can't be more proud. Still, they feel that it's not right for him to stay single considering he's almost twenty-five, the perfect age for a bachelor in the Hart family to settle. And that exactly was why she didn't want to lose this chance.

"Mom? What are you doing here? I thought you and dad were on Italy." Angela smiled and turned to see him in his bathrobe. His hair was still dripping with water and being his mother, it was obvious to her he was in a hurry. She can see it in the way he looked passed her to the clock and then his file case on the table. Regardless, he managed to look calm as he always did.

Angela smiled sweetly and made herself comfortable in his white sofa. "Call your secretary and cancel everything you have for tonight. I need to talk to you." She sounded formal, a tone Eric has gotten used to. He did as told and returned to her again.

"Is it urgent or can I change first?" He asked to which Angela picked the latter.

It took him five minutes to come back fully dressed in a plain back Armani t-shirt and white pants. He didn't care to pick something formal seeing as she wasn't letting him go anytime soon.

When he's sitting in front of her, a maid came to serve tea and cakes and hurriedly left.

"Go ahead, I'm listening." He offered coolly using his business tone. Angela took the chance to observe him. They both know she rarely get the chance to see him live. He has gotten more handsome, in fact even more attractive than his dad. She was pleased to see he was figure conscious and hygienic even when at home. Not to mention, he has been applying what Gregory taught of him about using poker face to put things under control. She was also aware that this time, he was using his poker face and hiding his curiosity. But she knew better, she was after all the woman who gave birth to him.

"Eric, son, I need to ask you something." She took a sip on her tea and it was his turn to observe her. When she felt him getting impatient, she decided to be direct though still sounding like the business elite woman she really was.

"What do you like for your future wife?"

Eric almost spit out the tea but he managed to keep it in tact. He was surprised at her sudden attack, but decided it will be the last she was going to see him make a fool of himself. He didn't know what she's planning but this time for sure, he had to be the one messing it up for her.

"Future wife? Let me think…" He pretended to think, rubbing his chin. For a moment she was content, thinking he was giving the issue the seriousness it deserves.

"Hot, big boobs, sexy curves, pretty face, you know, that type." He said nonchalantly to her obvious dismay.

Angela felt like wanting to smack him in the head but kept her cool. It was after all his future they were talking about. If he wants to play with it, perhaps she has no choice but to just modify his preferences to get the perfect grandchildren she and Gregory had been dreaming of behind his back.

Meanwhile, seeing his mom horrified even for a brief moment was satisfying to Eric. He knew she had always been the scheming type behind his back but if she's planning to set her up on blind dates like what he accidentally heard her and his father talking about, he might as well enjoy himself with it.

Realizing he wasn't going to change his mind, Angela asked again. "Alright, is that all?"

Eric was stunned. He was at least expecting some scolding from her for his boldness. When he realized she's really calm about his answer, he finally decided to take it seriously, not that what he told her wasn't the truth. As a man, he was well aware it was typical to prefer attractive women. Frederick Julianne Hart was no exception.

Angela realized his son's confusion and was suppressing a grin.

'So he's finally taking this seriously.'

He decided to think of what he wanted for his future and though he wasn't the type to think of marriage, he too has thought of it as a possibility. Thinking about his ideal type reminded him of the very first time the question was brought up.

Flashback from twelve years ago*~

"Son, what do you like for your future wife?" Dad asked the twelve year old me. I stared at him, dazed at why he suddenly asked that of all things. We were out for a father-son bonding in the park. Now that I think about it, it's funny how he paid the government to rent us the entire park for private use just because it was my favorite place. As a father, he has always been overly protective, at least when I was a kid.

"Hmmm, let me think." I said, pretending to be thinking deeply, rubbing my chin to make it appear more real, so I could please my dad. He likes it when I try to think like an adult. Though at that time, I knew in my heart I already know the answer.

"She's got to be the nicest girl in the world! She's got to have the prettiest smile!" I said excitedly, my arms curving upwards to form a circle. I was clueless and even surprised with his question but decided he was only concerned as a parent.

Dad patted my head. I got the response I wanted. He was proud of me.

"You've got great taste son! When you see a girl, you'll be attracted to her face. But to know if she's the one, you got to look deeper. You need to see her heart."

Back then, I didn't really get what he meant. I was even thinking, 'Isn't the heart inside the body? How can I possibly see it?' I'll admit. I used to have an innocent mind, used to.

I was never the appreciative son type. But whenever I get myself in some serious life situations as a child, Dad gives me the best advices. Too bad, when mom asked me, I already lost my sight of this ideal girl.

Angela smiled in satisfaction. She recalls him as a child having the same expression when he's thinking. He may have changed, but not everything about him did. Her smile grew wider as she realized he was done thinking.

"She's got to have the most beautiful smile." He said, more to himself than to her. His eyes settled on the carpeted floor but both knew his mind was elsewhere. Angela knew it was for real. She can see it, he was half-smiling and he wasn't even aware. He might have remembered something pleasant, but he has no enough reasons to let her know.

Angela smiled in satisfaction as she kept her stare on him. Her son, the once little boy she used to tuck to sleep was now a man. And though he may have forgotten the important teachings he learned from her and Gregory as a boy, she recognized that the things he learned on his own, he still possess.

Eric finally snapped out of the thoughts brought by his childhood memory. He realized she has been watching him. Disappointed that he let her take control again, he wanted to get over the talk but not before asking why the sudden intrusion. Angela as his mom, his dad and best friend Carson were the only ones who can make him feel defeated. He was fine with everyone else. He had always succeeded in making them play his game with victory in his hands. But with the said three people, he knew he just can't, because more often than not, memories of his past intrude his reasoning and he's unable to keep a poker face.

"So why do you ask?" He narrowed his eyes in suspicion, crossing his legs and adjusting his back to be more comfortable, not that he wasn't.

"Well, your father and I have been talking about your future." She replied calmly.

"My future? What about it? You're not planning to set me up on blind dates are you?" He narrowed his eyes even more, causing his mother to chuckle. Not that he minded. He never took women, except his mother and some relatives seriously anyway, why change that?

"Of course not! Why would we do that?" Angela didn't suppress her laughter and took a zip of her tea.

"Then why? You never asked me about women before, so why ask now?" He replied, this time the formality gone. He knew very well her mother was one heck of a business woman, and it's almost impossible to reveal her true intentions. But who said he'll give up? If he can't interrogate her the business way, he might as well do it the informal way, talking to her in a mother and son conversation.

"What do you think? You're almost twenty-five. Your father was twenty five when he married me." Angela eyed him too, making sure he understands.

"I should have known. You didn't want to talk me into blind dates. You came to talk of marriage." He answered with evident irritation in his tone.

"So-" She disregarded his rudeness and went on. "When are you going to introduce a deserving woman to us?"

Hearing this, Eric snapped. "I never recalled saying I will."

"So it never crossed your mind? What about the many flings you have? And don't you dare lie to me Julianne Frederick Hart, I know you have been busying yourself with women but won't even consider the courtesy of giving your father and I a daughter in law!" Angela glared dangerously. She was aware of his son's reputation as a London heartthrob, and she wasn't ignorant to the fact that such reputation comes with a lot of consequences. Who wouldn't be? The guy comes from one of the richest families in London, not to mention he has the face of Achilles. Surely, women will be a problem.

"Mother, they are called flings for a reason." He sighed, tired of having to explain. He was just a regular man, maybe a very handsome man, and what does his mother know? A man has needs and the fact that women force themselves to him doesn't help, it never did, and it probably never will.

"Aha! So now you're admitting it! Whatever happened to lying to your mom so she can keep thinking she raised her son properly?" She was starting to get fired up. It's no use restraining your disappointment with a son you can't really figure out. For the past years, when they ask him, all he did was lie and say he's not interested in anyone. She really can't say he's lying because she knew for sure her son can't last in a relationship for more than three weeks.

"You know it anyway! What's there to hide?" His voice too was getting louder in frustration. He has a lot of work to do, his current fling was a nuisance to his work and his mother confronting him with his life issues was certainly not helping. It's true, he did his best to keep the flings a secret but secrets were meant to be out, especially with the media and his reputation. He was actually expecting this will happen. What he didn't expect was that she'll be reacting boldly to it just as she was now.

Angela eyed him, and seeing the same uninterested expression, she sighed. "Alright, we're not going anywhere with arguing. And we both know you're too old for scolding so I might as well be direct."

"As if you haven't." He murmured but was loud enough for her to hear.

"Watch your words young man! I am still your mother." It came out sharper than intended, but managed to make him listen. She looked at her watch, and realized that she spent longer than expected. Remembering she has a meeting at 3 pm, she sighed.

"Your father and I aren't very happy with you ruining your life with unworthy relationships. He would have come and talk to you himself but complications happened in our company branch in Thailand and he had to take an early flight so he sent me to do it in his place."

Eric was about to open his mouth but she immediately cut him off. "What I'm trying to say is that we're giving you until December 10 this year to introduce us to a deserving girl. If you can't then it's up to us to settle the matter. You, more than anyone knows that your father and I make sure to protect our integrity. What we want, we make sure it's done in no time." Angela declared back to her business tone. Seeing her son speechless and dumbfounded both at once, she stood up from seat and headed her way out but not before looking back to him one last time.

She hated to do this to him, but she knows very well that it's the only way if she wants to keep him from ruining his life.

"This isn't a bluff Eric. And we both know that." She said as her parting words, and sighed deeply once she made sure to close the door.

Inside the room, Eric remained quiet. It didn't take a couple of more seconds after she left that the sound of breaking glass was heard from his room. Maids immediately came running and gasped at the scene.

"Damn it." He murmured and with furry arising yelled, "Damn it! Why are they doing this to me?"

His right fist was tightly closed, bleeding with a few shards from his favorite painting hanged on the wall that was now destroyed. He heard the maids' gasp, and turned to them.

They were obviously frightened. Being the charmer that he was, he sighed in disappointment of himself and walked to them.

"Sorry about that. I-" He paused. "Just please clean it up." He walked passed them and out of his room. He should have known. His mother was already nowhere in sight.

Disregarding his wounded fist, he brought out his phone from his pocket and dialed. Two beeps and the receiver spoke.

"Hello? Eric sweetheart, I thought you'll never call me again, what's up? Missed me at last?" He smirked, expecting her words. He can imagine the blonde winking seductively at the other end.

"Are you at work?"

She chuckled. She too knows what to expect of him. It was just Eric to answer straight to the point. "Yes, but I'm finishing up."

"Alright." He said and looked at his watch. "I'll be there in fifteen minutes." He said and immediately pressed end call.

He was nowhere near the state of fine. He knows his mother was serious about settling things their way if he didn't come up with a plan. Clenching his fist despite finally succeeding with his poker face to hide his anger, he walked fast headed to their parking lot. He needed to calm himself to think. In times like this, he knows exactly what distractions he needed and how to not waste time simultaneously. So for the second time that day, he decided to make a call. It took five rings before the other line pick up.

"Eric dude, what's up?" The receiver answered enthusiastically. He can hear disco music in the background but was already expecting it anyway. At least, his friend sounds sober.

"I have a job for you." He went on, already opening the door to his red Ferrari.

He heard the other line laugh. "That's expected. Who am I stalking this time? A doctor? A lawyer? Another hot supermodel?"

Eric grinned. Carson Carlisle being his best friend since college was very well aware of his schemes. He has always proven himself trust worthy since the day he backed him up from the jealous suitors of the girls they were hitting on in college. Carson, being a detective was another asset. He had always given him free investigation services, from the research on what he could hold against his business competitors, to the whereabouts of their biggest sponsors and clients, and even to stalking the women he's interested. Their times together proved the guy will never say no to him. Holding on to this hope, Eric didn't hesitate.

"My parents."