Chapter Twenty Four
He couldn’t breathe. He was drowning and he couldn’t come up for air. Daaem had had the same dream over and over again. It was haunting him and he didn’t know how to make it stop.
Something had to give and soon. He was miserable, sleep deprived and more stressed than he’d ever been in his life. He needed to sleep but he was too wound up. Every time he closed his eyes, he woke drenched in sweat with his ears ringing.
Daaem was being looked to for solutions and ideas but he could barely think straight any more. He needed to sleep. If he could just sleep, he’d be able to think clearly again. He’d be able to fix it.
He needed to sleep.
Terrified and worried, he’d even gone to a doctor only to be told that he was stressed and he needed to relax. Easier said than done. How could he relax when he couldn’t even close his eyes?
He needed to stop thinking and there was only one way he knew of to do that. He’d stopped drinking over a year ago but he still remembered passing out after downing enough beer. Drinking was forbidden, he knew, and more to the point, he didn’t like the person he became when he drank. But he needed to sleep.
Surely if he just did it once, it wouldn’t hurt? He could just reset his system and then he’d be fine.
He didn’t have any alcohol in the house, he’d gotten rid of it all when he’d quit drinking. He’d have to go out and buy some.
Daaem looked at his watch. 01:24 AM. He had a meeting in a little over five hours. That made up his mind for him and he grabbed his car keys.
Fifteen minutes later, he was opening a beer. He braced himself for the taste and poured the liquid down his throat, trying not to gag. He knew that speed was the name of the game here. The faster he drank, the faster he would black out and the more sleep he would manage to get.
Soon enough, he was passed out on the couch in his lounge, a bottle dangling precariously from one of his hands.
Daaem buried his head into the pillow, trying to block out the annoying sound. His head ached and he felt disgusting. He tried to turn over and promptly hit the ground.
Propping himself up on an elbow, he looked around in confusion. This wasn’t his bedroom. Where was he?
His hand came into contact with something sharp and he pulled it back with a wince. Slowly, he pulled himself up, finally beginning to remember what had happened the previous night.
Daaem groaned aloud as the ringing started again. This was not meant to happen. He’d been meant to wake up refreshed from a decent amount of sleep and instead, he felt worse than he had before.
Getting up had made his stomach begin to churn as well. Clearly, he’d forgotten about the hangover that came with drinking. Daaem reached for his cellphone, wanting to stop the annoying ringing and froze in shock when he noticed the time. His meeting had both started and ended while he’d been drooling on his couch.
Slowly, it begun to sink in that he’d just missed one of the most important meetings he’d had all year and bile rose in his throat. His stomach lurched violently and he bolted into the bathroom, emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet.
Eventually, he picked himself up off the floor and fell into the shower. He needed to go into work and see if there was anything left that could be salvaged.
Nothing. There was nothing left that he could do. He’d found out when he’d gotten into work that there were photos of him going into a liquor store from the previous night all over the internet.
“Would you like us to release a statement or do you want to do an interview, Mr. Shaik?” Emma asked him.
“Don’t do anything, Emma. Just leave it be.” Daaem put his head in his hands. “And stop trying to reschedule this morning’s meeting as well.”
“But sir,” Emma started, confused.
“Do you honestly think you’ll manage to get it back on books?” Daaem asked bluntly.
Emma winced. “We can try but it will be incredibly difficult.”
Daaem nodded. “It looks like I blew off the meeting because I had a hangover. That’s because it’s true. I did blow off the meeting because I had a hangover. There’s no way that we can salvage this one, it’s better to just cut our losses and move on to something else.”
“If you’re sure, sir…”
“I am, thank you, Emma. And could you please arrange for a service to clean up the apartment?”
Emma blinked. “We have a cleaning service scheduled for every second day until Anna gets back, sir. Someone will be in tomorrow morning.”
“I know,” Daaem said pleasantly. “I want someone to go clean it now as well. And make it someone discreet.”
“Yes, sir.” Emma hurried off and Daaem turned to his laptop. A few moments later, he’d pushed it away again.
What was the point? He had no idea what his next step needed to be, no plans for what to do next. What was the point of even trying when he knew he was out of his depth?
He should have taken his father’s offer when it had been made, he realized. But he hadn’t wanted to give up. He’d been so determined to get things right.
But he couldn’t. Daaem had understood now that he wasn’t capable. He couldn’t hack it and even he wasn’t masochistic enough to keep fighting a hopeless fight.
Grabbing his cellphone, he scrolled to his father’s number and took a deep breath.
“You need to take back your company,” he spoke quickly, trying to get the words out before they choked him.