'His name is Richard Kane, Daddy!



Abel swung round to face her. 'Is he William Kane's son?' he demanded.



'Yes, he is,' said Florentyna.



'You could consider marrying William Kane's son? Do you know what that man did to me? He's the man who was responsible for the death of my closest friend. Yes, he's the man who made Davis Leroy commit suicide and, not satisfied with that, he tried to bankrupt me. If David Maxton hadn't rescued me in time, Kane would have taken away my hotels and sold them without a second thought. And where would I be now if William Kane had had his way? You'd have been lucky to have ended up as a shop girl at Blooming - dale's. Have you thought about that, Florentyna?'



'Yes, Daddy, I've thought of little else these past few weeks. Richard and I are horrified about the hatred that exists between you and his father.



He's facing him now.'



'Well, I can tell you how he'll react,' said Abel. 'He'll go berserk. Tlat man would never allow that precious wasp son of his to niarry you so you might as well forget the whole crazy idea, young lady.'



His voice had risen to a shout.



'I can't forget it, Father,' she said evenly. 'We love each other, and we both need your blessing, not your anger.'



'Now you listen to me, Florentyna,' said Abel, his face now red with fury.



'I forbid you to see the Kane boy ever again. Do you hear me?'



'Yes, I hcar you - But I will see him. I'll not be parted from Richard because you hate his father!



She found herself clutching her ring finger and trembling slightly.



'It will not happen,' Raid Abel. 'I will never allow the marriage. My own daughter deserting me for the son of that bastard Kane. I say you will not marry him.'



'I am not deserting you. I would have run away with him if that was true, but I couldn't do that behind your back. I'm over twenty - one, and I will marry Richard. I intend to spend the rest of my life with hirn. Please help us, Daddy. Won~t you meet him, and then you'll begin to understand why I feel the way I do about him?'



'He will never be allowed to enter my home. I do not want to meet any child of William Kane. Never, do you hear me?'



"Ilen I must leave you.'



'Florentyna, if you leave me, to marry the Kane boy, I'll cut you off without a penny. Without a penny, do you hear me?' Abel's voice softened.



'Now use your common sense, girl, you'll get over him. You're still young, and there are lots of other men who'd give their right arms to marry you.'



'I don't want lots of other men,' said Florentyna. 'I've met the man I'm going to marry, and it's not his fault that he is his father's son. Neither of us chose our fathers!



'If my family isn't good enough for you, then get out~' said Abel. 'And I swear I won't have your name mentioned in my presence again.' He turned away and stared out of the window. 'For the last time, I warn you, Florentyna - do not marry that boy!



'Daddy, we are going to be married. Although we're both past the stage of needing your consent, we do ask for your approval!



Abel looked away from the window and walked towards her. 'Are you pregnant? Is that the reason? Do you have to get married ?'



'No, Father!



'Have you ever slept with him?' Abel demanded.



The question shook Florentyna but she didn't hesitate. Tes,'she replied.



'Many times.'



Abel raised his arm and hit her full across the face. The silver band caught the corner of her lip and she nearly felL Blood started to trickle down her chin. She turned, ran out of the room crying, and leaned on the lift button, holding her bloody face. The door slid open and George stepped out. She had a fleeting glimpse of his shocked expression as she stepped quickly in to the car and jabbed at the button continuously. As George stood and watched her crying, the lift doors closed slowly.



Once Florentyna had reached the street, she took a cab straight to her own apartment. On the way, she dabbed at her cut lip with a Kleenex.



Richard was already there, standing under the marquee, head bowed and looking miserable.



She jumped out of the cab and ran to him. Once they were upstairs, she opened the door and quickly closed it behind then4 f~eling blessedly safe.



'I love you, Richard!



'I love you too,' said Richard, as he threw his arms around her.



'I don't have to ask how your father reacted,' said Florentyna, clinging to him desperately.



'I've never seen him so angry,' said Richard. 'Called your father a liar and a crook, nothing more than a jumped - up Polish immigrant. He asked me why I didn't marry somebody from my own background!