Your Forever Love (The Bennett Family #3)(16)


by Layla Hagen

“I want to run something by you,” Sebastian says. “Ava’s birthday is coming up, and I want to gift her shares in Bennett Enterprises. I will give them away from my own part, so your shares won’t be diluted at all, and neither will your decision power.”

There is a beat of silence, after which Logan says, “Great,” which sums up how I feel in the best way possible.

“Brother,” Blake tells Sebastian, “I don’t give a fuck about dilution, but that’s the most unromantic present ever. And that’s coming from the least romantic brother in the family.”

Blake winces at the word ‘romantic.’ Ah, one of these days I will plot his downfall as well. That will be an interesting challenge.

“Yes, but it’s the perfect present for Ava,” I say. The shares are distributed exclusively among our siblings and parents, and extending that courtesy to Ava… Well, I know how much family means to her. I look at Sebastian with renewed admiration. He certainly knows how to make gifts. Almost two years ago, he surprised my parents by buying them the ranch where we grew up. My dad had built it with his own hands, and my parents sold the ranch when Sebastian needed capital for Bennett Enterprises. The new owners didn’t put it up for sale until two years ago, and my brother immediately snatched it.

“Pippa’s right,” Alice agrees.

“She’ll be thrilled,” Summer adds.

“And she deserves it,” Christopher says. “From what I’ve seen, she works as hard as we do.”

“Plus, she is family,” I finish.

Sebastian nods, his shoulders slumping slightly, tension ebbing away from his posture. I wonder why he thought we’d object to this. I’ve heard of families who fight over shares and money like sharks, but that has never been an issue in our family.

“So, everyone is all right with this? Mom and Dad already agreed,” Sebastian says.

“Yeah, like anyone’s going to tell you no,” Blake remarks, echoing my thoughts. “We don’t have schmucks in the family.” He looks around the table once half-threateningly, as if daring anyone to contradict him. No one does, of course. “Anyway, I still think it’s not the best present for a lady.”

“I never said it’ll be the only present. The shares will be accompanied by some jewelry.”

I perk up at this. “I’ll get on it right away.” I’ve created unique engagement rings for Ava and Nadine, and their wedding rings also. I can’t wait to do something like that again. “Do you have any specific requirements?”

“No. I trust you completely,” Sebastian says.

“It’ll be perfect,” I assure him.

“Didn’t Ava brush you off a long time ago when you tried to give her jewelry?” Logan asks casually.

“Yeah, but that was before we got married. That gives me the license to buy her expensive gifts.”

Both Blake and Daniel burst out laughing. Logan merely shakes his head.

“Bennett logic,” Max remarks.

“It’s completely foolproof,” Christopher adds.

Sebastian passes the documents around the table, telling us where we have to sign.

“Now, there’s something else I wanted to share with you,” Sebastian begins after we’re done. “Blake gave me some good news, which I already shared with Logan. He wants to involve himself more with Bennett Enterprises.”

“Wow,” I exclaim, turning to Blake. My word echoes throughout the room.

“I wish people would stop reacting like this,” Blake says in a low voice.

“Can you blame us?” Logan asks.

I chuckle, imagining how Logan must have reacted when Sebastian first told him. He is the eternal pessimist, thinking Blake and Daniel will waste their lives away with parties.

“Sorry,” I say. “This is a great thing.”

“I’d like to talk out some details about Blake’s entry before we eat,” Sebastian continues. “Logan, Pippa, Blake, and I can do it. The rest of you can start the brunch.”

“Isn’t Ava joining us for this?” I ask.

“She said she’ll be late, and that we can start without her.”

The room empties quickly afterward. Daniel pats Blake’s shoulder before he leaves. Sebastian and I exchange furtive looks and share a smile, but we both remain silent. In contrast to Logan, the two of us never doubted that the twins would come around eventually. Sebastian insisted they are Mom and Dad’s sons after all. They know the value of hard work and taking nothing for granted, even though they’ve had a much easier childhood than we had. My personal philosophy was that everyone grows up eventually. If I’m honest, the twins never were that wild. Sure, they’ve lived off the dividends and partied wildly, but neither ever dabbled with drugs, nor have they flaunted their wealth. Neither are assholes, and family is important for them. That’s enough for me. Blake’s come around, and I’m sure Daniel will too eventually.

“What’s the plan?” I ask.

“Blake will spend two months in each department before deciding where he wants to stay,” Sebastian replies.

“Sounds great to me,” Blake answers immediately.

“You’ll have to work, Blake,” Logan says in a stern voice. “There will be no favors.”

Blake rubs his jaw. “Relax, I got it. I’d love to start in whichever department has the most beautiful women.”

Sebastian, Logan, and I all stare at him.

Blake merely shakes his head. “Man, things here need some shaking up. You’re lucky I’m joining you. No one can even joke with you.”

“You’ll start in my department,” Logan tells him. “Finance.”

To his credit, Blake appears to be looking forward to it. “Excellent.”

“Welcome to Bennett Enterprises, brother,” I tell Blake. He breaks into a grin, and of course, I hug him. A long time ago, Logan and Sebastian sat with me at a small round table, welcoming me to the company. We were in a different location, on the outskirts of San Francisco, in a one-story building with small windows. The team consisted of ten people, and my brothers asked me to be the eleventh. The company was doing well enough to support the family, but Sebastian and Logan had dreams of international fame, which meant that costs had to be kept as low as possible, so the profits could be used for expansion. They told me that each member of the family has shares in the company, regardless of the choice of work they’d do. The goal was simple: make sure our family never suffers from financial hardships again. There’s no better motivator in the world. The three of us worked like there was no tomorrow to turn the company into a success.