“You’re a fool,” he yelled at me. “How many times in your life will you be handed this kind of opportunity?”
I actually laughed when he said that. He’s right. I have been a fool, but what made me one had been trusting him, not dropping this lawsuit. “You call this an opportunity as if it’s a job or winning the lottery. It’s taking money away from a man who worked for it. I don’t need millions to raise my baby. All I need is a good job, desire and love. I’ve got all of that.”
“I can’t believe what an idiot you are and I can’t believe that I’ve wasted all of this time on you.”
In spite of the fact that I realized he was the one in the wrong here and what he thought of me really didn’t matter, the realization that he was only with me because of what he thought he would gain in the end, hurt. “I agree with you. Again, I’m a fool and maybe an idiot as well for trusting you. I’m finished with that. I’m dropping this lawsuit.”
“Good luck supporting yourself and that brat you’re carrying!”
I smiled at him. “Thanks. I’ll do fine and we’ll be fine. I’ll have my things out of here tomorrow and I’ll leave the key,” I said, taking my purse and heading for the door.
“Good riddance!” he yelled, as I went out and closed the door behind me. Good riddance is right. Good riddance to fake relationships and silly lawsuits. Hello to my new life. I rubbed my swollen belly. Our new life.
I knocked on Liz’s door for the second time that day. When she pulled open the door and saw my face she hugged me and then she invited me in. “Is it okay if I sleep on your couch tonight? I have to figure some things out tomorrow about money but then I’ll rent a hotel room.”
“No, you will not. You’ll stay here like I told you earlier. I’ll clean that room out tomorrow and we’ll set up the day bed. You can sleep on the couch tonight.”
“But what about Gloria?”
“She’s not going to mind,” she said, “And as much as I like her if she did, I’d still pick you. You’re my best friend.”
I had tears in my eyes as I said, “I’m not sure how long it will take me to get back on my feet.”
“But you will. You’re going to have your baby and finish school and become a P.A. who makes a lot of money and makes everyone feel better. Until then, if a best friend can’t help you, who can?”
“I’m not sure what I did to deserve you in my life. Thank you so much. I will pay you back for all of this.”
“Friendship is not about keeping score or keeping a tally sheet.”
I knew she meant that. I might be striking out big time in the boyfriend department, but I did hit the lottery when it came to friends. I hugged her tight and said, “If I didn’t have you, I don’t think I’d have gotten through any of this.”
“You won’t ever have to worry about it,” she said. “I’ll make some decaf tea and you can tell me what’s going on.”
She made the tea and we took it out on the terrace. The rain had stopped and the sky was clearer now and the stars were able to take their stage. Once we sat down she said, “What did Jason do?”
I laughed. Taking a breath in and letting it out slowly I said, “It’s a little more than that, I guess. For one thing, I’m dropping the lawsuit. I talked to Alex today.”
“You did?” she said, excitedly. It was what she’d been telling me to do from day one. She didn’t know Alex and she was angry at what he was doing, but she could see that I genuinely cared for him.
“Yeah. I ran into him on the pier.” I told her about our conversation.
“You know you have feelings for him, right?”
With a smile I said, “Yes, I figured that out. But thanks.”
“Well,” she said. “Sometimes you’re a little hard headed. He must be a good guy if you feel so strongly about him.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But look at Jason. My track record is not so good.”
“You never really thought you loved that guy, did you?”
I shrugged. “I suppose not love… but feelings nonetheless.”
“Oh well, we’re all entitled a mistake or three,” she grinned. “We live and learn, honey. All of us. I personally think that you’re doing the right thing. Even if nothing ever happens with Alex, I believe what I said earlier, you’re strong enough to do this on your own and I’ll help you in any way I can. Jason is an opportunistic creep and you’ll be much better off without him.”
I nodded. She was right about Jason. I didn’t doubt that. I did hope that she was right about me being strong. Sometimes I felt it and sometimes I felt like I was just faking my way through it.
I was sitting at my desk, trying to get some real work done. The problem was I couldn’t stop thinking about Vicki. “Mr. Reigns, Mr. Bronte is on line one,” my assistant told me. Bronte is the lead attorney on the civil case against Victoria. I had left a message for him this morning, telling him I wanted to drop the suit. Maybe after I talked to him, my frame of mind would be better.
“Herb! Thanks for getting back to me.”
“Alex, I got your message about dropping the lawsuit. I have some concerns…”
“Listen Herb, there’s no need to argue with me. My mind is made up. I want to drop this suit. It’s ridiculous and should not have ever been started in the first place. I let other people do my thinking for me. I don’t want to do that any longer.”
“Well, as much as I disagree with you and fear for your assets in this case, I won’t argue with you. You’re the boss. I also received word from Miss Hart’s attorney this morning. She’s dropped her suit as well.”
“Really? Did he say why?” I wondered if it had to do with our talk. That was what drove me to it. Not so much her words, but the feelings she expressed to me in her eyes. She didn’t want this or anything material of mine. That much I firmly believed.
“Pretty much the same silly reasons that you’re giving me. She told him it never should have been filed in the first place and that she didn’t want a dime. Maybe we could still get her to sign an agreement that states she doesn’t want anything and doesn’t feel entitled to anything and won’t sue in the future for anything…” I hung up on him. I didn’t want to hear her called a gold-digger anymore, even if it was in a roundabout way. For some reason, the news that Victoria had dropped her suit made me feel ecstatic, like the stressors of the past several months had suddenly been lifted. It’s not about the money; it’s about the fact that it proves I was right about her. I knew that she wasn’t a gold-digger and I suspected she had feelings for me. I think this proved both of those things. Where to go from here was still a question I’d have to give a lot of thought to but at least I had a starting point.
I dialed the staff number for my home and waited for Karen to pick up. “Reigns’ residence, Karen speaking. How can I help you?”
“Hi Karen, it’s Alexander.” I’d known Karen my whole life. I felt comfortable with her knowing my personal business. She never shared it. She was one of the most loyal and faithful people I’d ever known.
“Well hello Mr. Reigns, what can I do for you?”
“I need you to get in touch with Victoria Hart and offer her job back.”
“Excuse me sir? Isn’t there a restraining order or something like that in place?” I knew that Karen liked Vicki and all of this had been hard on her as well.
“Yes, there is Karen, it was all a mistake. Please notify the other staff of that before Vicki gets back. I don’t want this to be unnecessarily hard on her. She’s pregnant, so I’m sure there will be some other restrictions, but I trust you to handle all of that. When you talk to her, tell her that if she’d like to come back, she can start the first of July. That will give me a few weeks to take care of the legal nonsense.”
“Yes sir.” She sounded pleased.
“Karen, be nice to her please. She’s been through a lot.”
“I like Victoria sir. I was
very sad to see her go. I’ll be kind; you can be assured of it.”
“Thank you.” After I hung up with Karen, I called back the attorneys and we worked out what steps I would need to take to get rid of the legal restrictions on her being at the mansion. They would actually have to take the steps; I would just need to sign the paperwork. I told them to get on it at once and I wanted something on my desk by tomorrow. Then I made the second to last call on my list, to my wife.
“Alex,” Cassandra answered. She sounded like I was interrupting her.
“Are you busy?”