Lucia entered the office to find Anita seated with her arms crossed.
“Hey…what’s the emergency? You sounded rather serious on the phone,” Lucia said as she sat. “Why are you here?” Anita asked simply.
“What do you mean?”
“I know who you are; we both know where you come from. We both know you don’t belong here.”
“I’ve no idea of what you’re referring to, Anita.”
“I know you are Lucia Baker, Monique.” Lucia chuckled.
“I know; you’ve never ceased to remind me each time you get the chance.”
“No, I know exactly who you are; the Lucia Baker, the nurse who attended to Ted at Peace General Hospital.” Lucia’s eyes widened in shock.
“Huh! You can’t even deny it, can you?” Lucia swallowed.
“And some way somehow you ended up being the daughter of the business legend, Mr. Baker and here you are! You had Ted in your sight for almost a month and you wasted your chance to be with him. Now that he’s here and has chosen me, you’ve reappeared in another guise to compete for his heart. What is your problem?!”
“I’m not competing for anything, Anita.”
“Oh really? Can you honestly tell me there’s nothing going on between you two?”
“Yes I can because it is the truth. We are just partners.”
“Thankfully it won’t be long. Soon, this charade will be over and either your dad or Ted’s will take over this company and we wouldn’t have to see you again. But I want you to promise me one thing.”
“And what is that?”
“That when you leave, you’ll stay gone. Don’t let me even smell you from a thousand miles from here.”
“And why would I do that?” “Because if you continue to lurk around like the slithering snake you are, I’ll tell Ted who you are in excruciating detail. Trust me, I can get very creative when I’m well motivated and you, Miss Baker have given me a full dosage of it. And something tells me that by the time I’m done, you seeing Ted again would be really far from reality. He’ll come to hate you more than he despises me. And it is more than fine with me. If I don’t get to be with him, you are definitely not going to. Am I clear on that?”
“You don’t scare me, Anita.” “Then you should be because by the time I’m through with you, you’ll find yourself exiled from here for a very long time. Do not take my words lightly, dear.”
“Are you by any chance threatening me?”
“Am I threatening you….um…let me see…maybe I am. That is not my intention though but if that’s how you want to see it so as to understand what I’ve been saying then yes, I’m threatening you, Miss Baker,” Anita said in a dead serious tone. Lucia chuckled again.
“And what’s so funny? Do I look hilarious?”
“Come to think of it, yeah. You’re the one engaged to the guy and have great rapport with his parents but apparently, someone as insignificant as me happens to be such a big threat to your fairy tale ending.”
“Very funny but yes, I’ll agree with you on one thing; you’re insignificant. But life has taught me not to underestimate anything nor anyone, no matter how petty they may be.”
“Well, I’m not going to let you scare me away. Although I’ll give it to you; you do look like a scarecrow but I’m going to take my chances. If I wanted to have Ted, I’d have him just with a snap of my finger so instead of threatening me, you should be thanking me.”
“Thank you? Ever since you came into our lives, he doesn’t look at me the same way anymore!” Anita accused.
“And you blame me for that? From what I heard, you cheated on him with a colleague. Don’t blame me if you don’t have what it takes to keep your man, Anita.” Lucia stood.
“I understand your present situation has made you desperate because obviously, the survival of your future dreams depend on you leeching on Ted but I assure you, I’ve no bad intentions against you, Anita. So stop being paranoid or it will make you mad. Do you know the statistics of young beautiful women who end up in the nuthouse simply because they freaked out about non-existent threats? You’d be surprised. I’ll see you,” Lucia said and walked to the door.
“And one thing…” Anita said, stopping Lucia. She turned. “What?”
“You’re out, Lucia. You’re no more my bridesmaid.” Lucia chuckled.
“Please honey, we both knew from the jump that this was all a fallacy. There wasn’t going to be a wedding in the first place,” Lucia replied and left the office.
“I hate you!” She screamed.
Lucia arrived home to find her father and Mr. Bourbon chatting heartily.
“Mum, is that Mr. Bourbon dad is chatting with?”
“Yes dear; I’m sure everything’s settled now.”
“You’ll find out soon.” Her mother smiled.
“I never knew they were buddies. Thought they were…”
“Business rivals? Of course they are but they are also pro-players. They have an interesting love-hate relationship which has thrived all these years. They know when to join forces so they can both benefit at the end.”
“I see. And exactly what is the end benefits they are about to enjoy together?” Lucia asked.
“All in good time.”
“Mum, Ted’s girlfriend threatened me today.”
“Threatened you, how, why?” “She knows I’m the nurse who attended to Ted and she has threatened to tell on me unless I disappear.”
“What does she mean, disappear?”
“Meaning I don’t show up after this whole deal with McLean is wrapped up.”
“But you like Ted, don’t you?” “That is not the point, mum. If she tells Ted, he might come to resent me for not telling him all this while and I wouldn’t forgive myself for that.”
“So take this as a cue and go tell Ted yourself. It will be better.” “He’ll not hate me any less, mother.”
“Trust me, you don’t want a desperate woman giving him her carefully concocted version of your story to Ted. Desperate women are most dangerous especially when they have nothing to lose,” her mother advised.
“Okay, I’ll tell him after the meeting is over.”
“The sooner the better. And let me know how it goes.”
“Sure. I’ll be in my room.”
“If you’re hungry, I’ve some fruit salad in the fridge which you can help yourself with whiles you wait for dinner.”
“Thanks mum; I’ll do that after I’ve taken a shower.”
“Okay dear.” She left to her room.
Two days later, Ted, Anita, Lucia and her dad converged again to meet Mr. McLean.
“Well, I’ve read your reports and I must say I’m really impressed with your work,” Mr. McLean said.
“Thank you, sir,” Ted said.
“This has made decision-making surprisingly harder for me because your reports have shown that my company would be in equally good hands of either in Bourbon’s camp or that of Baker’s. So after a very hard look at things and discussing it with the big guys, I’ve come to this conclusion. I’ve decided to leave the company in the hands of both companies.”
“What does that mean? This wasn’t the agreement, Mr. McLean,” Anita protested.
“I know, Miss but I’m thinking about the welfare of my company. Each of you can make my company better but with both hands on board, this company will go places that even I thought impossible. Besides, both Mr. Bourbon and Mr. Baker are cool with it.” Anita glanced at Ted in shock.
“Did you know about this?”
“No; I’m shocked as you are.” Anita looked at Lucia who didn’t wear surprise on her face.
“I see; so you found a way to still hang around, didn’t you?” “Excuse me? I had no idea Ted and my parents met behind closed doors and decided this.” “So, henceforth, this company now belongs to Mr. Ted Bourbon and Miss Monique Baker, representing their respective companies,” Mr. McLean announced.
“This is unbelievable!”
“What do you say, Ted?”
“If this is what my father wants, sure I’m okay with it.”
“Uh huh, perfect cover up.”
“And who are you again, young lady? How are you even affected by this? You’re not related to the Bourbons, are you?” Mr. McLean asked. Lucia giggled earning her a dark glare from Anita.
“She’s with me; she works for me,” Ted replied.
“I see. So, you two should come see me in my office tomorrow and we’ll talk more about this,” he said, referring to Ted and Lucia. “Yes sir,” they both replied. Mr. Baker shook Mr. McLean’s hands.
“Thanks; it was a pleasure doing business with you.”
“Anytime, Baker.” Ted shook Lucia’s hands with a smile.
“I guess we’ll be seeing each other more often from now on.” “Uh huh,” Lucia said, stealing a sideway glance at Anita who fumed and walked out.
“Forgive her misconduct. She must have woken from the bad side of her bed today,” Ted apologized.
“It is okay. See you tomorrow, Ted Bourbon.”
“Can’t wait,” he replied, squeezing her hand.