I turned on her and said, “Exactly how should a billionaire act, Cassandra? Maybe I should be a snob like you and talk mean about people and down to them?”
“He should act like he has some class. He shouldn’t be trolling nasty beaches and broken down piers in Seal Beach. He shouldn’t be having breakfast with his maid and he really shouldn’t be designing nurseries for her. It gives people the wrong idea. I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but this has to stop!”
“Or what, Cassie? You’ll leave me? Been there and done that, remember? You came back because you can’t live off the paltry million dollars a year alimony you were ‘entitled’ to!”
“I shouldn’t have to live off of that. I’m entitled to a lot more and you know it.”
“No, I don’t know it. You didn’t work for any of this. Hell, even as a wife you’ve been sub-par! You spend your days in pursuit of your own beauty and your own pleasures. None of it has anything to do with me or you being my wife.”
“Oh really?” she said, with narrowed eyes. “So you’d rather have some woman who let herself go? Some fat chick with dark roots and cellulite?”
“Jesus, Cassie. You’ve missed the point, which is that it’s not about how you look! It’s never been about looks! I don’t want a wife that I can present to the world like a trophy for crying out loud! I want a wife that I enjoy talking to. I want a wife that makes me want to come home at night. I want a wife that will hold my hand and walk on the beach… my beach! And, most of all, I want a family… something you refuse to give me.”
Rolling her eyes she said, “Too bad. You’ve got me and you’ve also got enough money to go to Russia or China and adopt an orphan or something. Make sure you hire lots of nannies though because I’m not taking care of them. This is like the time you insisted on getting that stupid puppy I didn’t want. Maybe the kids will get ran over by a delivery truck too. I have to go pack.” She turned and left the room, the same way she always did when we talked about having a family. She left me feeling sick this time. She was a terrible person. I heard her heels on the tile floor and then I heard her say, “I need my things packed before two. I’ve laid out what I plan on taking. Make sure it’s all packed and handled with care.”
“Yes ma’am,” I heard Victoria’s voice. She must have been in the hallway while we were arguing. I wondered how much she heard, and I wondered how many other times she’d heard us. When I think about finally ending it with Cassandra and telling Vicki that I want to be with her and try and make a life with her and the baby… I worry sometimes about some of the things she may have heard me say to Cassandra. Between that and the lawsuit nonsense, I had to wonder what she must think of me.
Alex and Cassandra were going on a vacation. That shouldn’t bother me. She’s his wife. I’m his maid. I folded the third skimpy bathing suit she’d laid out and put it into her suitcase. I caught myself wondering why she wore anything at all. None of the suits would leave a thing to the imagination. Then I chastised myself for my own jealousy. I wasn’t jealous of the suits, or the vacation, I was jealous that she was going to get to spend time with Alex and I wasn’t. Every time he went on a business trip or a vacation, even before the baby, I missed him. Something about just knowing he’s near made me all warm and tingly inside.
I’d heard them arguing earlier again. I’d felt a little guilty this time because I realized that she was angry about the nursery. I know that I hadn’t asked him to do that, but the fact that he felt the need to do this for me both touched me deeply and made me a little nervous about the future. He’d told me that he wanted a relationship with the baby and I wanted him to have that. But given the fact that his wife didn’t even know it was his yet and that she was already angry about him designing a nursery for the “maid’s kid,” I had to wonder how it was all going to go.
And then there was the far future that I tried not to worry over. I know that I’d be much less stressed if I stayed focused on the here and now but I don’t intend to be a maid forever. Once I’ve had the baby and gotten back on track with my life I fully intend to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a Physician’s Assistant. That was going to mean not coming here every day. By then, if Alex and the baby have a relationship how will I take him away? Then there was the other sinister, ugly little thought that seeped into my mind unbidden and unwelcome sometimes. What if he decided he wanted the baby and he tried to take him away? I wanted to believe he’d never do that, but I’ve seen first-hand how much control his lawyers have. The thought of Cassandra being my child’s caretaker made me shudder. I would never let that happen, no matter how far or how fast I had to run.
“Hello Victoria,” I heard his voice behind me. I finished folding his wife’s black lingerie and put it in the bag before I turned around.
“Hello,” I said. “I was just getting Mrs. Reigns’ things packed. Did you need me to get yours ready too?”
He smiled. Something inside of me melted. “No thank you, Vicki. This is a business trip. I’ll just need my suits which are already in the wardrobe bag. I can pack my own underwear.”
“Oh, I thought it was a vacation. I mean, I’m sorry. It’s none of my business anyways.” Embarrassed and again chastising myself for being so forward, I turned back to my work. I felt a jolt of electricity race through my veins, starting at the spot on my shoulder where Alex had laid his hand. I turned back towards him, dangerously close to his face and those full, soft lips.
“Don’t apologize to me, Vicki. I know that you work for me, but I’d like to also think we’re friends. Friends are allowed to make conversation with one another.”
I nodded, only because my mouth was too dry to speak. I was watching his mouth as it moved and I barely heard the words because all I could think about was how badly I wanted to kiss him. I was a mess. Maybe it was the hormones. Maybe once this baby was born I could stop lusting after my boss and think about getting a real life again. I knew one thing for sure; when I looked at his face I didn’t believe that he would ever try and take my baby… at least I didn’t want to believe it.
I woke up on Thursday morning having strange, tight feelings in my abdomen. It wasn’t really pain, just a tightness that wasn’t there before. I took a long hot shower before getting dressed for work and that seemed to relax it some. When I made it to the kitchen, Liz and Gloria were having breakfast.
“Good morning, sunshine. There is French toast and bacon on the stove.”
“Thanks, Liz. I think I need tea and crackers today.”
With concern in her eyes Liz said, “Why? What’s wrong? You shouldn’t still be having morning sickness. You’re too far along for that.”
I smiled to alleviate her anxiety. Just as she was looking at me, one of the tight feelings turned into a painful cramp. I willed myself not to wince. I didn’t want to worry her. “No, not morning sickness. Maybe just a touch of a stomach bug or something… I’m sure it will pass.”
“I have to get to work, ladies.” Gloria got up from the table and took her dishes to the sink. “You girls have a good day.”
“You too!” We both told her. I made my tea and when I sat down with it at the table, Liz was still looking at me funny.
“What is it?” I asked her.
“Are you sure you’re alright? Are they working you too hard at the mansion? You shouldn’t be over-doing it. You’re so close…”
Smiling I interrupted her and said, “The most stressful thing I’ve done all week is pack Mrs. Reigns’ expensive underwear and swimsuits. I’m fine, really.” As I assured her of that, my stomach clenched again.
She made a face at the mention of Cassandra and said, “Where is she going?”
“She went to Belize with her husband.”
“He’s taking her on vacation when you’re so close to having his baby, really?”
“Liz, first of all, it’s a business trip. Second of all, she doesn’
t know this is his baby. Third of all and most importantly, she’s his wife, not me.”
“He’s really lucky this is you and not some other woman. Any other woman would have told his wife by now and had this splashed all over the tabloids.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But I don’t think he deserves that. I honestly believe he is doing his absolute best with all of this, just like I am.”
She snorted again and stood up with her dishes. I had a hand on my belly. “Are you sure you’re okay? I can call in to work…”
“I’m fine,” I told her again. “You can’t call in. You’re a minion for the parade today.”
She laughed, “Yes I am. I’ll be stuffed tightly into a yellow suit gasping for fresh air all day. Whoo Hoo! Love my job.” She was being facetious. She really did love her job. I’d gone and watched her character stuff before at the theme park. She was great.
“I have to go to work in a few myself. Have a great day, okay?”
“You too,” she said, still with a worried look. “You call me if you need anything okay?”
“I will.” I watched her go, thinking about how lucky I was once again. After I finished my tea and straightened up a bit, the tightness had completely gone away. I dressed and went into work and began my day.