“Sir, can I help you?”
Jay’s eyes traveled around the main lobby of Davenport Realty as he took in the space. It was tastefully decorated by illustrations of luxury home floor plans and commercial real estate properties. In addition, there were several framed portraits that lined the wooden walls. Jay’s attention was more focused on the single portrait of Lotus Pagua, which hung above the receptionist’s desk, than the receptionist in front of him. He was staring at the portrait when her voice sounded once again in his ears. This time, she had a slight attitude.
“Sir, do you have an appointment? Who are you here to see?” she asked.
Jay raised his brow, hearing the harshness in her tone. He looked down at her desk and saw an enormous amount of paperwork. He figured she had other things to do so he decided to stop stalling. “Lotus,” he told her.
The woman looked at him quizzically, and it was then that Jay realized his mistake. Most people were unaware that the owner of the real estate company was born Lotus Pagua. “Harold Davenport, I need to see Harold Davenport,” he told her, and then held up his briefcase as a sign that he had come on business. The woman didn’t seem to recognize him, a factor that could potentially work in his favor.
“You know, Harold Davenport retired. You chose the right day to come because he is actually in a meeting with the new CEO of the company. You’ll have to wait until the meeting is over, though. Why don’t you take a seat over there,” she suggested, as she stood up from her desk and pointed to a row of chairs in the waiting area. “Would you like some coffee?”
Jay ignored her question, and headed to the row of empty seats. He sat his briefcase in the seat next to him before giving the lobby another once-over. The building that housed Davenport Realty was far more upscale than the premier office in Brookstone. Jay assumed that the Texas location was more profitable.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” a male voice burgeoned. “Don’t make me have to come back up here. I retired for a reason.”
Jay plastered a smile on his face as he saw Lotus walking into the reception area. He appeared to be in a dismal mood from the signs of stress on his face. It made Jay think twice about approaching him; however, he was determined that his visit to Dallas was not going to be in vain. He rose to his feet quickly and stepped into Lotus’ path.
“Uh…” Lotus uttered as he blinked his eyes twice to make sure he was seeing right. Certain that he was, he looked Jay over from head to toe. Lotus hadn’t spoken or seen Jay in years. Jay lived in New York, so Lotus knew that he had intentionally come to Texas and sought him out for a specific reason.
“Do you have a moment for Hector’s son?” Jay asked him with a smile. He followed Lotus’ gaze, which was fixed on his briefcase. He then looked back at him only to see that his facial expression had turned to one of nervousness.
“Sure, I was headed out,” Lotus told him, nodding his head. “Come with me.”
Jay quickly grabbed his briefcase and followed Lotus out of the building. A black limousine awaited them outside directly in front of Davenport Realty. Jay made no hesitation in getting inside although his own limo was across the street in the parking deck. Before turning to address Lotus, he sat his briefcase in between them and buckled his seatbelt.
“Why are you here?” Lotus asked. “You’re the last person I’d expect to see in Dallas.”
Jay chuckled, because it was obvious that Lotus was suspicious of his presence. He couldn’t blame him, either. It had been a long time since they had held a conversation, besides; Lotus wasn’t exactly his biggest fan. “Our paths are always bound to cross. I’m Hector’s son, remember? He was your best friend. I also have two kids by your daughter, Carmen, and not to mention a little princess on the way. Your grandkids are a good enough reason for us to talk.”
“Are you counting Rakim as your son?”
Jay looked over at Lotus hoping that he could read his facial expression. Instead of answering his question, he opened up his briefcase. He pulled out a white envelope and handed it to him.
“As you can see,” he said as Lotus opened the envelope, “I do believe that Rakim is my son. If you want me to be honest, I always believed that he was. I just didn’t push the issue as much as I should have. Now that Carmen has broken up with me, I am going to push the issue. Rakim is still very young, but he needs to know that I’m his father. By the time I get back to Brookstone, Carmen will have a copy of these court papers.”
Lotus looked at Jay as he took the papers out of the envelope. He read the documents quickly before placing the papers back inside. “Is this how you intend to get her back?” Lotus chuckled in disbelief. “You take her to court for a DNA test, and then sue her for paternity fraud? Rakim is almost a year old. If you really thought he was your son then you would have did this a long time ago. Why bring it up now?”
The question that Lotus posed was a good one. Jay was unsure of how to answer other than to explain that it took him awhile to make sense if it all. “Carmen told me that her husband couldn’t have kids. I believed her, but I got confused when Kane came with his paternity test. For a while, I thought that maybe a miracle had happened. You know, maybe he was Rakim’s father after all. Then, I used my common sense and remembered that Kane had never produced a child naturally. The only child that is biologically his is Kristian and they used in vitro to conceive her. I know that Rakim is my son. Since Carmen doesn’t want to admit that, I have to take matters into my own hands.”
Lotus gave the envelope back to him. “Okay, so what do you want from me?”
Jay focused the conversation on the real reason that he had come to Dallas. He had recently linked up with one of his old comrades who had helped him put millions into a new investment, one that he wanted Lotus to help him out with. His plan was to use their connection to his advantage.
“I figured that since I’m Hector’s son that you would help me.”
Lotus was taken aback. “Help you? Help you with what?”
Jay knew that what he said next was going to send Lotus into a fury. “I need a warehouse,” he told him, quickly.
“Oh hell no,” Lotus said, taking off his seatbelt. “Stop the car, Arnold. Pull over.”
Jay unbuckled his seatbelt as well. He grabbed Lotus’ shoulder, in an attempt to calm him down. “Lotus, come on, listen to me. I know you helped me with this before, but I need another one. I mean, you sold me the building for Blue Magic. I’m making honest of the restaurant, aren’t I? I promise you, I will—” Jay was interrupted as Lotus screamed in his ear.
“Are you out of your damn mind? What kind of shit are you getting into now?”
“I can’t go to anybody with this project. I don’t need a lot of ears or eyes on this. I trust you, Lotus. I know that you won’t publicize this sale like you do the others. I know you will take the warehouse out of your company’s listings way before the sale is even complete.”
Lotus shook his head, nervously. He knew that if Jay was asking for a warehouse then there was probably some illegal operation about to go down inside of it. The last time he had sold him one, he ended up using the space to house illegal drugs and weapons. Now, he wanted one again. Certain that Jay was still running a drug cartel, Lotus didn’t want anything to do with it. His days of working alongside a criminal enterprise were long gone.
“Sir, should I still pull over?” his driver asked.
Jay looked at Lotus, waiting for him to respond. He smiled when he told Arnold no. It was a clear sign that Lotus probably wanted to know more. If he did, Jay could potentially be leaving Dallas with a place to house his newest project.
“Jay,” Lotus began, “Do you really think that I’m going to risk my real estate business for your criminal enterprise? You know what, don’t answer that. Arnold, head back to the parking deck so we can drop Mr. Santiago off.”
Jay became uneasy as the conversation took an unexpected turn. He knew now that he had to pull out all of the stops if he wanted Lotus to comply. “I’m begging you. You were my father’s best friend, his right-hand man. I know our relationship hasn’t always been good, but I’m asking you to put our differences aside. I’m not trying to get you in any trouble. I want to keep everything that is done between us discrete.”
Lotus closed his eyes briefly as he thought of Jay’s father. Everything that Jay was saying was true. He had been Hector’s best friend. In addition, he was also legally Jay’s godfather. It was a secret that he had never made known. Part of the reason was because his main concern had always been in establishing a new identity. He didn’t want anything to do with Hector’s criminal enterprise, which was why he had broken away in the first place. Even now, he didn’t want to take part in Jay’s project. Lotus felt that if he gave Jay what he wanted, he wouldn’t be working in his best interest. Instead he could be aiding him in getting another seventeen year stint in prison.
As the limo eased into the median, Lotus knew that he was pressed for time. He still had to break the news to Jay that he wasn’t going to help him and reveal his secret. He knew that if he gave Jay a heartfelt explanation of why he wouldn’t help him that he would accept it. Besides, it was time for him to let a skeleton out of the closet.
“When you were first born,” he revealed, “I signed court documents to be your godfather. Hector wanted me to watch over you in case anything ever happened. I hate to admit that I failed in that department, but I did. Even when we reconnected, I didn’t play the part that I was supposed to. But, today is a new day.” Lotus turned towards Jay so that he was staring into his eyes. “I don’t want to see you back in prison. I don’t want to see you following in your father’s footsteps either. I know you’re still running the cartel. Right now, I’m looking out for your best interest. My daughter is having a baby by you that is due this month. You need to be around to see that child grow. I don’t believe that you intend to use this warehouse legally and because of that, I won’t help you. That doesn’t mean I hate you or I’m trying to be spiteful. It means that I want to look out for your best interest.”
Jay looked out the window as the driver parked the limo directly across from his own. The bomb that Lotus had dropped had made him speechless. He never thought in a million years that Lotus Pagua could be his godfather. Lotus was right when he said he hadn’t played the part. He had been absent from his life for many years. While his secret helped Jay to better understand Lotus’ stance, he still wanted his warehouse. Deep down, Jay knew that Lotus wouldn’t let up. Therefore, without bothering to respond, Jay got out of the vehicle.
Lotus took a deep breath as Jay’s lofty frame disappeared into a white limo. He wasn’t quite sure how to take Jay’s reaction. In addition, he was very curious about his godson’s newest venture. What are you up to now? You’re too much like your father, always working on something. Lotus sighed at the comparison. He got ready to direct Arnold towards his house until he noticed a black velvet bag on the seat opposite of him. He had never seen Jay place it there but he figured his godson had pulled a fast one on him. Lotus picked the bag up, loosened the strings, and glanced down into it. A slight snicker escaped his lips as he saw that the bag was full of diamonds.