“Hey, you’ve reached Monique Baker. I am not available at the moment so please leave a message and I’ll get right back to you,” Lucia’s voicemail announced for the fourth time. Ted sighed as he cancelled the call.
“Not available, huh?” Anita asked as she bit into some fries. He glanced at her.
“She has not come to the office for four days now. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?” Anita shrugged nonchalantly.
“Well, she still does her job, doesn’t she? And she sends someone to hand it in each day so I don’t really see what you’re so troubled about.”
“Why can’t she come herself?” “Perhaps she’s held up at her daddy’s office, who knows? Why do you care so much anyway?” “Because I have a heart.”
“Uh huh.” Anita slurped up her drink noisily. Ted raised an eyebrow.
“I’m glad she’s MIA for some time now. At least, we two get to spend some quality time together.”
“Uh huh, tell me about it,” Ted said cynically.
“Okay, to prove to you that I’m human, I’ll hit her up, okay?” Anita said and took her phone. Ted held her hand, stopping her. “That won’t be necessary.” When she looked puzzled, he added,
“It is okay.”
“All right,” she said and put the phone down.
Sarah Baker entered the study room to find Lucia busily hitting the keyboard with her swift fingers.
“Hi mum, you want me to help you with something?” Lucia asked without her eyes leaving the computer screen.
“Lunch is ready.”
“Oh okay, I’ll be right down.” Sarah pulled a chair and sat down.
“Tell me dear, what’s going on?” “What? I’m working.”
“Yeah, at home; when you’ve a well-furnished office at your father’s company.”
“Come on mum, I thought you’d love having me around; I keep you company, don’t I?”
“Yes and I appreciate that. But soon, I’d be travelling. You know that, right?”
“Yeah I do and I’ll return to my dad’s place when that time comes.”
“Did something happen at the office? Is someone harassing you? Because if that’s the case…”
“What, oh no, mum! Not at all! I just love working at home. It’s fun and stress-free,” Lucia said with a smile.
“You’re not fooling anyone here, Lucia Monique. What’s going on? Are you avoiding someone?” Lucia sighed.
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Who and why?”
“Someone at the office knows who I am.”
“What do you mean, knows who you are?”
“I mean knows me as Lucia Baker.”
“Okay…I still don’t get it.”
“She knows me as Lucia Baker, the nurse.”
“Oh that Lucia…and what seems to be the problem? You didn’t happen to step on anyone’s toes back then, did you?”
“Not exactly. You remember me telling you about the guy I kind of fell for back at the hospital? Yeah, it looks like I’m working with his current fiancée and somehow has figured out that I’m the nurse her man liked and is still looking for.”
“Oh I miss being young! With all the drama and stories,” Sarah said dreamily. Lucia raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t mind me, keep talking. So what, the lady works at the company?”
“No, she doesn’t.”
“So where does she work?”
“At the other office…the McLean project.”
“Oh I see…but you’re just three, right?”
“Ted Bourbon and the other lady.”
“Uh huh,” Lucia said with her eyes on the keyboard. Some seconds passed. Sarah gasped. Lucia looked at her mother. “You’re not saying the guy you fell for at the hospital is none other than…”
“What? You fell for our business rival?”
“Point of correction; I didn’t even know him to be a family business rival.”
“But how come he didn’t recognize you at first sight when you came back?”
“He had temporarily lost his sight at the time so he never saw my face.”
“And why didn’t you walk up to him and tell him who you were when you first met him as…you know, him?”
“I couldn’t remember my past, remember? He was a total stranger to me back then.” “Wow…okay, why didn’t you tell him when you regained them?” “He had reconciled with his girlfriend and I didn’t think I had the right to tell him who I was because we never really started anything.”
“And why has it taken you this long to tell me this?”
“Because it is about a Bourbon and I had the impression that he was a ‘no-go area’ for me,” Lucia replied. “Well that’s true. But you could have used that as an advantage to snatch up this McLean company for yourself,” Sarah said with widened eyes. “Are you serious? You want me to complicate my heart feelings with business?”
“No, not complicate; just put it on hold. After all, neither of you are acting on them.”
“Yeah, I forgot I was talking to you.”
“Anyway, why are you hiding here now?”
“Anita knows who I am.”
“So? It is obvious she has not told Ted because if she had, he would have found you by now. And she knows she can’t afford for Ted to know because it’s likely he’ll ditch her for you because, of course you’re a beautiful Baker woman,” Sarah said proudly. Lucia chuckled. “Yeah but I’ve a feeling she’s going to use it to her advantage to put me at any spot that she desires at any time and eventually drop the bomb which might not favor me at all.”
“So what, you hide out here so she can’t manipulate you? Sooner or later, you’d have to go back. How do you intend to face her?”
“Still working on it.”
“On your computer?” Lucia gave her mum a look.
“I’m serious. You locking yourself up here isn’t doing you any good; you’re only postponing the inevitable and trust me such delays end up leaving behind a nasty mess. I suppose you still like this guy?”
“That is not important now.”
“But it is; if you believe he’s the one and he feels same which I think is the case if not, he wouldn’t be looking for you, you should go see him.” Lucia was surprised.
“Did you just give me the go-ahead to go date a Bourbon?” Lucia asked.
“Well, I don’t know how your dad would take the news but if you ask me, it gives us an advantage in the business sense, of course. We can become a great force in the business industry.”
“Could you not see everything as profit and loss for just a minute?” “No, sorry, I can’t do that. I didn’t marry your father for nothing. But on a serious note, put away all your fears and go talk to him. After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen?” Sarah asked.
“He’s going to get pissed that I didn’t tell him all this while and that I’ve watched him about to marry a woman he has confessed to me that he doesn’t love…” “Whoa…you better tell him now, dear or he’ll end up hating you if you let him marry that woman before letting him know.” Lucia nodded.
“Come on, let’s go eat.” They both got up. Lucia closed the laptop.