Unsolved Riddles

Christian's POV:

"That William isn't what is keeping you here in Hong Kong. There is something else you are not telling me." I carefully analyze Phoebe's reaction to my theory. I would have preferred to discuss this at dinner, or when I could have ensured a lighter atmosphere encouraging a more open line of conversation. Nonetheless, there is no time like the present.

"I am going to have a shower. I will be ready in twenty minutes to leave for dinner." I narrow my eyes. Phoebe is walking away, sulking practically. She reminds me of me, at least how I was in my twenties. It would be humorous if the situation were different.

"Phoebe!" I run both my hands through my hair as my attempts to continue to talk to her fail. My far too stubborn daughter has walked away and close's the door to her room far too hard.

"Grey?" I look up towards Taylor. He is sporting his well developed impassive expression, but I know better. Taylor is a father and has a daughter himself; however, I wonder if he wants to punch me or help me right now. Luckily he is on my payroll.


"Welch has emailed the background check on William Harris. I have reviewed it, and there is nothing of consequence on it. It's clean.

There is a copy of it on your email."

"Has he uncovered anything else?"

"Nothing." I run both my hands through my hair again. Why isn't this proving so difficult?

"Tell him to dig deeper. I want and need answers." Taylor nods once before walking away. Damn, why won't Phoebe just tell me! I need Welch to uncover what is or has happened in my daughter's life that is making her reluctant to move back to Seattle. I thought Phoebe would have been eager to return. She always seemed so happy when she was home, though her visits were too brief. I would prefer for Phoebe just to tell me herself freely, but after tonight's performance, I don't see that happening. I should have bought Ana with me. Phoebe has always been far more forthcoming with her mother. She used to be so open with me, but when she became a teenager, and we conflicted on her push to be more independent, Phoebe wasn't as eager. I was excited when she came to work at Grey House. Not only did I get to see Phoebe every day but it gave us the opportunity to talk about everything.

I momentarily push my troubling thoughts aside and smile when I see Phoebe emerge. Her hair is down, and she looks more relaxed and youthful. Phoebe is like the spitting image of her mother. I am overjoyed to see her like this, though I can't hide my displeasure when I become aware of the shortness of her dress.

"Don't even say it dad. I am not getting changed. I would usually wear something longer, but my housekeeper was far too efficient and has packed a majority of the clothes that I normally wear knowing I would want to take them with me. There are a dozen suitcases already packed, and it's going to take me forever to reorganize them back in Seattle." I try to hide my smile. At least with that comment, she was confirmed that she would be going back. Not that Phoebe has a choice in this matter! Grey Enterprise sponsor her work visa, and without us, she doesn't have a legal reason to remain. Even if Phoebe wanted to return to Hong Kong permanently, she would have to go home to apply for the appropriate visa.

"At least that means you don't wear that dress often. Also, you don't need to worry about reorganizing your clothes. I have staff that can do that for you." Our domestic staff has grown over the years. When we relocated from Escala to the sound and had children, it was too much to ask Gail to take on the extra workload herself. We hired an excellent babysitter; Ana never wanted to refer to her as a nanny, and a second housekeeper who worked under Gail.

"I would rather do that myself." I grin. Phoebe has always strived to be Miss Independent, no matter how small the task.

"As you wish, though I should let you know that Gail and your mom, are going over to your apartment tomorrow to clean up, and stock your fridge and pantry. They are both excited to see you."

"I miss Gail and Mom," Phoebe murmurs.

"They miss you too, but you will all see each other soon." I feel a period of joy and relief. For the first time today, we have spoken about Phoebe's return and not ended in a disagreement. "We should go, or we will be late for our reservation."

"Yes." Regardless of Phoebe's response, she doesn't commence to walk out. I cock my head to the side. "So you are not going to go all thermonuclear, unhappy and controlling father and somehow force me to get changed?"

"No, unless you want to change." There is no point arguing over the shortness of my her dress, and besides Taylor and I will be with her. There is no way any fucker will dare eye fuck her, let alone make an advance.

"Wow, so I do get to make one or two decisions on my own." Phoebe rolls her eyes, but before she commences to walk towards the elevator, I grab her arm and stop her. I wait till she makes eye contact with me. Phoebe can try to hide the truth and her emotions, but she never could never conceal anything in her eyes.

"Phoebe, this was your decision. You chose to come to Hong Kong, strictly for two years and then to return to Grey House. I haven't acted against anything that you originally planned."

"I know. The only aspect that I regret is that I said I would return."

"Why?" Phoebe takes a deep breath and closes her eyes, apparently regretting having said too much.

"I have enjoyed these past two years far too much; professionally, my personal growth and the culture here... it all just seems to work for me." Phoebe is incredibly convincing. I am almost persuaded, but my gut feeling tells me that there is more. There must be more.

"Seattle will be the same. You were happy there before you came here. It is your home. The place you grew up. It is where you belong" I tell her softly.

"As you said, we need to leave, or we will be late for our reservation." I count down from ten as I watch Phoebe walk out. I follow her, but I feel so out of control. How do I force my twenty-seven-year-old daughter to talk?

# # # #

I smile proudly as Phoebe orders for us both, and for Taylor and Richman who are sitting on a table close by, in what seems perfect Mandarin Chinese. I listen as she converses briefly with our waiter and transitions smoothly to English with me in regards to my order. I cock my head as she looks contrite as she finishes ordering. Remorse isn't an emotion that Phoebe experiences. Phoebe has always lived for the future and never regrets anything. To her, the past is what makes us who we are.

"You look like you wish you could change something. Do I have something to be worried about in regards to what I am to be served tonight?"

"Are you worried that I ordered you the meal with the jellyfish?" I hide my disgust at the idea.

"If you did, then I will happily eat it."

"You lie. You would eat it, but not happily. You have never been too keen on jellyfish in any respects. Remember when Ted and I were kids and we went on a family holiday to Queensland in Australia?" I cringe. How could I forget!

"Yes, we went to the Whitsundays. Your mother wanted to go. It had been a long and cold winter and she thought a week in the sun, by the beach would be ideal."

"Is that where your dislike of jellyfish developed?"

"Probably. It stung like hell! I thought it was going to take me years before I would swim in the beach again." I had been swimming with my family and felt something on my back. Low and behold I had been bitten by one of the devil's sea creatures.

"You went back into the ocean on that holiday a day or so afterward. I specifically remember you taking me swimming."

"Do you remember seeing any other jellyfish when we were swimming or that entire trip?" I look at my daughter seriously; my well practiced CEO mode coming in handy.

"Now that you mention it. No." I stifle my laugh as Phoebe tries to recall every aspect of this memory.

"The night of that day I got bitten, I spoke to the head of the Queensland government, donated a significant amount of money to preserve the great barrier reef and got special permission to have the beach netted for the remainder of our trip. It prevented all jellyfish from getting a mile towards us."

"Seriously? They let you do that?"

"Gotcha!" Phoebe look's at me shocked and then laughs out loud shaking her head. I can't help but join her. She, like my sister Mia, has an infectious laugh.

"You had me there for a moment dad."

"So I can still get one over you."

"Looks like it and don't worry, I have ordered you the Poached Chicken with Diced Abalone and Conpoy. There won't be a jellyfish in sight on your plate, though it is on the menu."

"Sounds delicious." Phoebe's expression changes. Something is running through her mind. I take advantage of the lighter mood, hoping it will encourage her to open up.

"A penny for your thoughts."

"You know dad when I was growing up; I use to think you were invincible. That you could make the world spin the opposite direction if you wished. Nothing was beyond your ability! That time you got bitten by that jellyfish, I discovered you were mortal. I thought nothing could ever touch you. I often thought that, even after that time."

"That's a nice sentiment, but I have weaknesses. You are one of them." Phoebe sits up straighter, far more rigid. "Talk to me Phoebe. Tell me what is keeping you here in Hong Kong. What happened or is happening now?"

"There is nothing. I am leaving. I am going home in less than forty-eight hours. I am perfectly happy now that Bryan has confirmed that he will take over my role here. He is more than ready. I have complete confidence in him. It will be good to be home."

"Phoebe, why do I feel like you telling me what I want to hear?" I narrow my eyes.

"You tell me!"

"Phoebe, don't talk in riddles."

"I am not. It's time for me to go."