“After all these months of hard work, why would you want to throw it all away, son?” Mrs. Bourbon asked Ted.
“I’m not throwing it away, mother. This is Monique’s first try and she really did well. I think she deserves it.”
“And so do I; I really worked hard on the project too,” Anita chipped in.
“But you are not the company’s heir; I am,” Ted snapped at her. “Look, mum, dad…we’ve acquired a lot of other upcoming and collapsing companies. Surely we can let this one slide.”
“Why are you pushing for this so hard? Do you like this girl?” his mother asked.
“Good question,” Anita said. Ted cast a glare at her.
“It is not that, mother. I’ve gone through the records, dad. A lot of damage was caused. Acquiring it will incur us more cost than profit. A lot of repair is required.”
“But we can handle that, can’t we?” Mr. Bourbon asked.
“Of course we can; I just don’t think it’s worth our time,” Ted said. There was a pause.
“Okay, if you say so,” Mr. Bourbon said.
“What? You’re letting go?” Anita asked.
“Shut up, Anita. The owner of the company has agreed. Who are you to challenge that?” Ted said. “Show some respect, Ted. You shouldn’t talk to her like that,” his mother scolded.
“You should have heard how she spoke to me when I was in the hospital with my sight gone.” “Come on Ted; that was long ago. Are you really going to dig that up now?”
“So how far with the wedding preparations?” Mrs. Bourbon asked. Ted and Anita glanced at each other.
“It’s going well…” Anita was saying when Ted cut in, “There will be no wedding.”
“I don’t want to.”
“What happened, son? You two going through a rough time?” his dad asked.
“Yeah…” Anita said, trying to save the situation.
“No…it will be a terrible mistake if we do this. We don’t love each other…”
“I love you, Ted!” Anita cried out desperately.
“Oh yeah, if I weren’t Mr. Bourbon’s son and heir, would you want to be with me?” he asked her. She swallowed. “That’s what I thought,” he said. “Well, believe it or not, love doesn’t come easy to people like us. Every woman out there wants a piece of what we have worked so hard for…so they feign interest till they get what they want. And it is no surprise if Anita is such a woman.”
“No offense, lady; just being honest here.”
“But I might find the right one out there.”
“Are you in love with someone else?” his mother asked. Ted looked at his mum.
“I knew it! It’s Monique, isn’t it?” Anita asked, her voice getting hysterical.
“Shut it, Anita! Your voice is getting on my nerves.”
“Who’s she, son?” Mrs. Bourbon asked.
“Someone I met at the hospital. I haven’t seen her since then but I can’t seem to take my mind off her. So till I do so, I don’t want to commit to anyone else.”
“Lucia? She might be married for all you know, Ted!” Anita said, emotions building in her voice. Ted sighed as he buried his face in his palms.
“Anita dear, I think you should leave us. This is a family matter now,” Mrs. Bourbon said. Anita glanced at the parents, shocked. “But I am family too.” “Apparently…not yet,” Mr. Bourbon said. Anita shook her head as she took her bag and got up.
“I can’t believe this.” She walked out.
“Thank you for sending her away. Her voice was driving me nuts.” “That makes two of us,” Mr. Bourbon said with a chuckle. That got him a glare from his wife. “What? I’m trying to make him feel better.”
“Go get some rest, son. We’ll continue this talk later.”
“Okay.” He went to his room.
Anita was so angry that she took it out on her drive back home. She sped like never before.
“So she thinks she can just appear in our lives, charm her way to win the project and then snatch my man away from me too? Then she must be walking upside down. She’s really going to regret crossing my path; she’s going to wish she never left her nurse post at that damned hospital!” She stepped harder on the accelerator.
“Lucia?” She turned to see Allen approaching her.
“Allen! Thank God, I really needed someone to talk to!” They hugged.
“You’ve been gone for so long.” “I know; I got some job out of town but I’ve given some time off so I decided to come and see you.”
“Aww…that was so thoughtful of you. Let’s sit.” They sat and ordered drinks.
“So what’s up with you? How’s working with your father turning out for you?”
“Hmm…very interesting. And I got myself into a mess too.” “Why, what happened?”
“I met someone from my past…I mean, from the hospital.” “Okay…how bad can it be?” “Because I had lost my memories, I didn’t know the one he was looking for was me till recently and I don’t know how to tell him that I’m Lucia.”
“What name did you use?” “Monique.”
“Oh, I see; you took mum’s advice.”
“Yeah, and see where it got me.” She sucked the drink from the straw.
“What do I do?”
“Is he going to stick around for long or he’ll soon be history?”
“I doubt he’s going anywhere.” “Then you should tell him.”
“Uh huh, how’s he like?”
“Some business guy…” Flashes of his encounter with Ted came to mind. Allen panicked inwardly. “How close are you two?” Allen asked.
“Pretty close; we work together.” “You don’t say!”
“I know, right? The world’s such a small place.”
“Yeah, way too small. So you say, you’ve regained your memories…all of them?”
“Not all; I still don’t remember our time together. I know, it sounds horrible.”
“Oh no, not necessarily.”
“Why, there are no fond memories of us together?”
“I didn’t mean that; some things are best left locked away. I’m glad we can sit together and talk like friends. Let’s make a toast…to friends.”
A few days later, Ted was driving through town when he saw a couple walking hand in hand. He looked harder and he recognized the lady as Monique. He stopped the car, got out and called out her name. She stopped and turned.
“Ted! Hey!” Allen froze when his eyes fell on Ted. Oh no, it was the guy who came to him some months ago. If Lucia found out the truth…
“Are you two headed somewhere?” Ted asked.
“No, not really; we’re just strolling. Meet Allen, an old friend of mine.”
“Hi,” Ted, offering his hand. Allen shook it.
“Allen, this is Ted, a colleague and friend.”
“She has said a lot about you,” Allen said.
“Oh yeah, hope they are good things.”
“Pretty much.” Ted and Lucia smiled at each other.
“Good to see you, Ted. It has been a while.”
“Yeah, you’ve been avoiding me.” “Oh no, since we wrapped our project up, I’ve been really busy at my dad’s office. It’s not intentional, Ted,” Lucia explained. “We’ll meet with Mr. McLean this Wednesday.”
“Yeah, will be there.”
“Will be expecting you. Take care of yourself, Monique.”
“You too, Ted.” Ted sat in his car and drove off.
“He’s cute, isn’t he?” Lucia asked Allen.
“Yeah, he is. You like him?”
“A little; I’m keeping it under control. He’s to marry a colleague of hers soon. I don’t want to get in the middle of that.”
“He likes you too?”
“Uh huh; but he’s been a real gentleman about it. It’s charming. Aha! He’s the one I was talking about. Can you believe he was my patient at the hospital? My last patient?”
“He was…interesting. Maybe you should tell him…sooner or later.” “Why?”
“It would be better if he heard it from you than from someone else or he figuring it all by himself.” “Okay…I will do so the very minute I get the chance,” Lucia promised.
“Allen, Allen…I swear that name sounds familiar. Haven’t I seen him before?” Ted asked himself over and over; the thought nagging at him like a thorn in his flesh.