“Erin graduated in the top four of her class,” Seth said.
“Impressive,” he said. “I suppose it’s good that you were at least qualified for the job. I’m sure my son handed it to you because of your other considerable assets.”
“Father! Stop it! Erin is completely qualified for the job she does and that is why I hired her.”
“And how long from hiring did she get you into her bed?” Seth stood up. I suddenly didn’t want him to fight with his father over me. It wasn’t worth it. I could see the vein pulsing in his neck as his father looked over at him and said, “Oh please Seth, sit down. Are you going to pretend that she’s not spreading her legs for you?”
“That’s enough!” Seth said through clenched teeth.
I stood up then too and said, “It’s okay, Seth… really.”
“No it isn’t. Apologize to her!”
James looked amused as he stood up to meet his son’s gaze. “I didn’t say anything I need to apologize for. You are sleeping with her, are you not?”
“That’s not your business. You’re being so hateful and rude for no reason!”
“You think it’s for no reason? I think it’s because I’m looking out for my family.” He turned towards me and said, “My Company and my legacy,” as if taunting me. I had planned on looking for the papers after we had dessert, excusing myself and using the restroom… now I just wanted out.
“Maybe we should go, Seth,” I said.
James smiled at me. It was a creepy, plastic smile. He looked at his son and said, “She’s using you and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.”
“That’s it. Yes Erin, let’s go. My father has lost his mind.”
Seth came around and took my arm and we were almost out the door before James said, “You may as well tell him, Adele, or I will.” At the sound of my real name, my stomach twisted into a knot. The jig was up.
Seth stopped and looked down at me. I could feel the tears trying to force their way into my eyes. I was pushing them back when he looked back at his father and said, “Adele? You really have lost your mind. Her name is Erin.”
“Her name is Adele Morgan. She is the daughter of the man who formerly owned the company you now sit as CEO of. She is using you, Seth. She thinks that she was wronged and she is trying to ruin your family. You’re playing into her hands for the occasional piece of…”
“Stop it! Stop it!” Seth’s muscles tensed up and he was screaming at his father now. His face was red and his fists were clutched at his sides. One more word from James was likely to net him a sock in the face by his own son. I had to do something.
“He’s not going to get away with it this time, Erin. He’s not only being rude, he’s straight up telling lies about you.”
I took a step away, unsure of how he would react as I said, “He’s not lying. Adele Morgan is my real name. But I’m not using you. I took this job to get into the company that should have been mine. I was looking for something to prove your father stole it from me; which he did. I didn’t mean to fall in love with you, but I did.”
Seth was looking at me like I was a stranger. In all honesty, I guess that’s what I was. He’d been sleeping with a woman whose real name he hadn’t even known. He had to feel so betrayed. “All of this time, you’ve been lying to me?”
“Finally! Jesus sometimes I can’t believe you’re my son. You’re such a fool.”
Seth turned on his father then and in a voice barely above a whisper, but one that sounded dangerous nonetheless, he said, “Get out! For your own safety, you need to go now!”
James smiled again. “I’ll go son,” he said. “But when she tries unbuttoning her top to get your attention just avert your eyes and remember that cheap whores are a dime a dozen.”
“Get out!” That time he screamed at him. James smirked in my direction and then he left. Seth took a deep breath and turned back towards me. The tears were spilling now and I wiped one off my cheek.
“I can explain, Seth. He stole everything from me. I didn’t mean to fall for you… but I did. I love you Seth. I am not using you.” His chest was heaving up and down. I could tell that he was trying to get control of himself. It was a little bit frightening.
“Go home, Er—Adele. I’ll have the limo drop you off. Don’t contact me. I’ll have your things packed up out of your office and sent to you. You’re fired and you’re dead to me. Get out.”